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The Luther College men’s tennis team traveled to Saint Peter, Minn., to compete in the annual ITA Regional Tournament and came away with 21 victories over the weekend. Ramesh Karki led the way for the Norse in singles play, advancing to the Round of 16 where he lost a close three set match to Mya Smith-Dennis, the eventual champion from Gustavus. Nick Mozena and James Ayer had the deepest run in doubles action, making it to the quarterfinals before being ousted by Mitch Osborne and Byron Balkin of UW-Whitewater, who went on to win the entire tournament.
Karki opened play in the 119 player field with a (6-4, 6-3) victory against Brian Utz of Macalester. After a hard fought first round match, he followed with a (6-1, 6-2) win over Zach Decker of Coe in the second round. Advancing to the third round of competition, he faced off with Osborne and was once again up to the task, winning (6-2, 6-1) to move on to Saturday. Karki faced a familiar opponent in the Round of 16 in Smith-Dennis, but the result was much closer this time around. After falling (6-3, 6-2) a year ago, Karki pushed the eventual champion into a deciding third set before falling (7-5, 2-6, 6-3) in a high quality tennis match from both players.
Nick Mozena, Matt Bellio, James Ayer, and Quinn Foley each won a first round match before being defeated in the round of 64. Mozena was a (6-2, 6-1) winner against Nicholas Lambrecht of St. Scholastica, but then lost to Ben Klein of UW-Whitewater (7-6, 6-4). Bellio also defeated a player from St. Scholastica, defeating Cullen Combs (6-0, 7-5). He then dropped his second match to Gustavus’ Marcel Gyswyt (6-3, 7-5). Ayer edged Charlie Reinertsen of St. Olaf (6-4, 1-6, (10-8)) before falling to Alex Boomgarden of Carthage (6-2, 6-3). Foley was also extended to a third set super tie-breaker, where he came away with a (5-7, 7-6, (10-2)) victory against Max Edwards of Macalester. Foley lost (4-6, 6-0, (10-6)) to Coe’s Michael Janssen in the second round.
Torstein Jystad also competed in the ITA Regional, but lost his opening match (6-2, 6-2) to Curtis Newman of Coe.
Four Norse players participated in the Gustavus Invite (B Flight) on the same weekend with Sam Cychosz leading the charge by advancing to the third round. Cychosz breezed to a (6-0, 6-0) win over Dubuque’s Andrew Drummond and then knocked off Sam Hjelm of Gustavus (7-5, 6-3). He lost a tight match to Jimmy Yang of Grinnell by a score of (6-4, 7-5) in the third round. Matt Knutson also won his opening match (6-0, 6-0), beating Edwin Mendoza of Edgewood. He split sets in his second round match-up with Andrew Rangitsch of St. Mary’s before falling (3-6, 6-4, (10-4)). Sean Brown pulled out a (6-3, 6-4) win over Tommy Joswiak in his first match and then lost (6-2, 6-2) to Max Hawksford of UW-Whitewater. Aaron Ford dropped his first round match (6-2, 6-1) to Matt Baker of Gustavus.
Luther also had a very successful tournament on the doubles side of the ledger, with a pair of teams qualifying for the round of 16 for the second straight year in a 64 team draw. Nick Mozena and James Ayer won their opening match over Eric Klamrowski and Matt Slaughter of Milwaukee School of Engineering when the MSOE duo withdrew from the tournament. Mozena and Ayer followed with a pair of (8-6) triumphs to advance to the quarterfinals. In the second round, they defeated Cornell’s Justin Bradfield and Orion Wilkinson and then edged Coe’s Jeff Damisch and Michael Woolf in the Round of 16. The tournament run for the Norse came to an end with an (8-2) loss to the eventual champions from UW-Whitewater.
Cychosz and Knutson pulled a first round upset, knocking off Dubuque’s Nick Garcia and Demetrious Johnson by an (8-4) tally. They then held on for an (8-5) win against Josh Trueblood and Dayton Stevens. Competing in the Round of 16, they lost (8-4) to Andrew Bayliss and Ben Shklyar, who later advanced to the semi-finals.
Karki and Foley were first round winners by an (8-2) margin over Tim Hartwick and Matt Lobeck of St. Norbert. They then dropped an (8-6) battle to Fabricio Moncada and Jack Hansen of St. John’s, who advanced on to the quarterfinal round of play.
Jystad and Bellio lost (8-2) to Tyler Johnson and Grant Leisner of Gustavus, who made it to the semi-finals of the doubles draw.
The ITA Regional concludes the fall portion of the season for the Norse, who will resume action with a pair of matches in Moline, Illinois on February 9. Luther will face St. Norbert and Augustana to open the spring season.
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Questions? Contact David Blanchard, post_to_results, 563-387-1586